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The greatest Indians manager of them all, Lou Brown, dies at 70

By Joe L. Brown
For www.youhitlikeshit.com

CLEVELAND — Lou Brown, the gravelly voiced manager who led the Cleveland Indians to their first pennant in more than 40 years in 1988 has died after an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 70.

Brown, whose belief in calisthenics, sound un-flashy glove work and downright loathing of contract squabbles, kept him at the helm of the Toledo Mud Hens for 30 years, was hired for the job by General Manager Charlie Donovan, who had been promoted after the death of owner Donald Phelps.

Un-beknownst to Brown and Donovan, owner Rachel Phelps had intended to produce a team worthy of re-locating to Miami, but it was Brown’s daring managerial style and an eclectic mix of veterans and unknown talent like Willie Mays Hayes, Pedro Cerrano and Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn that led the Indians to the AL East title for the first time since 1954.

Brown’s Tribe defeated the New York Yankees in a playoff game on a bunt by catcher Jake Taylor, which meant the team finished with a 93-70 record in his dream season. Brown told reporters that “there are two or three potential all-stars” on his roster, but it was his managing of that talent that was vital for the Tribe’s success. One example? Brown discovered that Vaughn’s wildness was a result of poor eyesight, propelling the former California Penal Leaguer into one of the game’s greatest success stories.

Brown often admitted that he wasn’t “one for inspirational addresses” and he was known for wasting sports writers’ time when they irked him. One of his great thrills in life was a simple one, grilling burgers.

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Stephen Strasburg can’t beat the Cleveland Indians’ grounds crew

You all know about home-field advantage but I know how good these guys are.

They may not have liked my team, but after Stephen Strasburg‘s struggles on Sunday it’s readily apparent that they don’t like him, either.

– Lou Brown



Roger Dorn throws out the first pitch on fateful anniversary

Roger Dorn poses with Indians fans before the game. (Image courtesy of http://twitter.com/tribetalk)

Roger Dorn threw out the first pitch today in Cleveland, which also happens to be the 12th anniversary of Major League: Back To The Minors‘ theatrical release.

Harry Doyle said his pitch was juuuuuuust a bit outside, but personally I think his vision is getting bad.

It’s worth noting that Dorn is one of only four Major Leaguers to appear in all three films — him, coach Duke Temple, Pedro Cerrano and Doyle.

– Lou Brown



Do you have these magazines? I need copies …

For all of the things I saved through the years, I never did latch onto copies of People and Sports Illustrated where my guys appeared on the covers.

“Wild Thing” appeared on the Sept. 18, 1988, cover of People, while several of us appeared on a SI cover that fall, too.

Have one? E-mail me…

- Lou Brown



Did you know … Fleer pulled Pedro Cerrano’s baseball card from its 1989 set while fixing the Billy Ripken FF error?

Did you know Fleer pulled this card from its 1989 baseball card set while fixing the Billy Ripken error?

Pedro Cerrano appeared on card No. 402 until someone spotted him and replaced him with Dave Clark. It was a change that was so subtle it didn’t even require a change to the alphabetical order on the checklist.

(We heard that Fleer’s CEO just couldn’t allow the Tribe’s voodoo warrior on a card — he thought it gave off the wrong impression to youngsters. Little did he know what was on the knob of Ripken’s bat. But then that’s all just an urban myth, anyway … right?)

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My defining moment

Major League movies | Pedro Cerrano

One of the things this former manager loves is to re-live the good ol’ days on YouTube.

Here’s Pedro Cerrano‘s first BP session with my squad.

I’ll post more here and there when they pop up.

– Lou Brown, loubrown2009@gmail.com



What if Roger Dorn had a 1989 Donruss baseball card?

Roger Dorn.

I never really liked that guy — probably because his car cost more than I made in my last five seasons managing the Toledo Mud Hens combined.

Then, again, I did manage to get him a good deal on some whitewalls at Tire World. After that — and our pennant — he gave me a Rolex, so I can’t complain.

Once he got over my stance on calisthenics, and stopped acting like he was centerstage in the Playa Tijuana bullfighting stadium, he became quite a spark for my team. For some reason, he also seemed to listen to Jake Taylor a little more as the season progressed. And he always seemed to light a fire under Ricky Vaughn, too.

He’s good with his investments, so I’m sure he’s rebounded quite well from his short-lived stint as the Indians owner.

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What if I, Lou Brown, had a 1989 Donruss baseball card?

pg2-mem-front-brown

My Cleveland Indians never got any respect, despite a pair of division titles and a couple of postseason runs.

And then we were broken up via free agency so Rachel Phelps could make a buck.

And the ultimate sign of disrespect is that we never appeared on any real baseball cards.

But what if I, Lou Brown, had a card? Well, I do — sort of.

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